In 1994, Rendón wrote the article Validating Culturally Diverse Students: Toward a New Model of Learning and Student Development, in which she established the groundbreaking validation theory. This theory, consisting of six elements, is defined as
“an enabling, confirming and supportive process initiated by in- and out-of-class agents that foster academic and interpersonal development.”
In 2011, the referred publication, The Enrollment Management Journal: Student Access, Finance, and Success in Higher Education published a special issue dedicated to validation theory and its contribution to student success. This issue was guest edited by Rendón and Susana M. Muñoz. For full access to the issue download here.
In addition to editing this special issue, Rendón and Muñoz contributed the article, Revisiting Validation Theory: Theoretical Foundations, Applications, and Extensions.
Validation theory has been used extensively to theoretically frame college and university programs such as the Puente Project (California) and Catch the Next (Texas). The theory has also been employed in student affairs programming, student success programs, research capturing the experience of low-income, first-generation students and dissertation studies.